Painting your own nursery furniture is a great way to save money. Plus, you get a customized look that enhances the rest of the nursery's decor! Read the following article to find out where to get deals on children's painting furniture, how to paint the base coat and add decorative touches.
Find a Children Furniture:
First, you need to find your nursery furniture. You can look for rocking chairs and dressers at garage sales or second hand shops and get some great deals. Used cribs might also be available, but carefully examine them to make sure that they meet ASTM standards. (View crib safety tips on our Nursery Checklist page.)
Unfinished pieces are available at specialty furniture stores. Look in your Yellow Pages under "Furniture" and then the sub-category "Unfinished Furniture".
You can also buy new, finished furniture at furniture stores or children's stores and add details. This is a more expensive option, but it saves time if you are in a hurry.
Prep Work--Removing Old Finishes:
Used furniture will need the surface prepped by removing or sanding paint or lacquer. You can remove paint yourself using a paint thinner or remover product available at home improvement stores. Removing a finish from a stained piece of furniture will require sanding or using a paint remover. You may need several coats of the paint stripper before it has worked its magic.
Make sure to wear protective goggles and gloves while using these chemicals, or even goggles while sanding.
Sanding cord is a nifty little tool for hard to reach places that is like sandpaper on a string. It's great for sanding on spindles and can be also be found at online shoppings.
If you're not up to removing the original finish yourself, there are furniture refinishing places that will "dip" your piece in a chemical solution. It's quick and easy, and you don't have to handle the chemicals yourself, but it does cost some money.
Now that your children's furniture surface is smooth and dust free, you are ready to apply a primer. Make sure to do this important step, especially if you are working with a soft wood like pine. The primer prevents the grain of the wood from bleeding through your paint and spoiling a beautiful job.
Kilz is one of my favorite primer products and is available at most home improvement stores. Just apply one or two coats of the primer using a paint brush. Allow it to dry thoroughly before beginning to paint.
My preference is to use a water based semi-gloss latex paint on children's furniture, because dirt easily wipes off this type of finish. And let's be honest, if your child actually USES the furniture, it's bound to need a good scrubbing every so often.
Apply enough coats of your based paint so that the wood grain doesn't show through. Allow enough drying time between coasts so that the previous layer feels smooth to the touch and not tacky. Let the last coat dry completely, usually 24 hours is best before moving on to decorative painting.
There are an unlimited number of techniques and patterns that you can use to customize your furniture piece. You can find online mural painting kits to add a more detailed design, and then surrounding the image with fun borders. The mural kits are easy to use; you simply position the pattern and transfer paper, trace over the top with a ballpoint pen, remove the paper and paint in the outline that remains. If you can color in a coloring book, you can use a color kits.
Stenciling is another great way to get design applied to children's furniture. It's easy and the supplies are readily available at your local craft store or online.
You can also design your own pattern and free hand paint on the painting furniture for baby. Fun patterns include polka dots, stripes, stars, swirls and swiggly lines. These are all easy and look wonderful even if they aren't perfectly shaped--the imperfections are what make the baby painting furniture whimsical and unique. I like to place these types of patterns as borders around the edges of the furniture, around drawers or on legs. You can see an example of this on the table and chairs picture above.
Once your design is applied, you should seal the piece of children's furniture with a clear finish. You can find lacquer or my favorite, Polycrylic by Minwax at home improvement stores. Just apply several coats with a regular paint brush, allowing each coat to dry completely before the next application. Now your kids can put that children's furniture to the roughest, toughest use! (**Please note: we do not have any recommendations on sealants for cribs. These are items where a child's mouth may come in contact with the surface, and we are not experts on safe finishes if ingested. Contact a crib manufacturer for suggestions on finishes.)
Painting child's furniture or painting nursery furniture is a wonderful way to make his room his own. With some paint, a couple hours and a little imagination, you will have a piece that says "I love you" and your child will treasure it forever.